Brahma Sutras (Shankara Bhashya)

by Swami Vireshwarananda | 1936 | 124,571 words | ISBN-10: 8175050063

This is the English translation of the Brahma-sutras including the commentary (Bhashya) of Shankara. The Brahma-sutra (or, Vedanta-sutra) is one of the three canonical texts of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy and represents an early exposition the Vedantic interpretation of the Upanishads. This edition has the original Sanskrit text, the r...

Chapter III, Section IV, Adhikarana XIV

Adhikarana summary: In Brih. 3.5.1 meditativeness is enjoined besides scholarship and the childlike state

 Sutra 3,4.47

सहकार्यन्तरविधिः पक्षेण तृतीयं तद्वतो विध्यादिवत् ॥ ४७ ॥

sahakāryantaravidhiḥ pakṣeṇa tṛtīyaṃ tadvato vidhyādivat || 47 ||

sahakāryantaravidhiḥ—Injunction of another auxiliary (to Knowledge); pakṣeṇa—as an alternative; tadvataḥ—for one who possesses it (i.e. Knowledge); tṛtīyaṃ—a third one; vidhyādivat—as in the case of injunctions and the like.

47. (The meditative state is) the in-junction of another auxiliary (to Knowledge), which is a third one (besides the two expressly enjoined), as an alternative (where the knowledge of diversity is persistent) for one who possesses Knowledge; as in the case of injunctions and the like.

“Therefore a knower of Brahman, having done with scholarship should remain like a child (free from anger, passions, etc.); and after having finished with this state and with learning he becomes meditative (Muni)” (Brih. 8. 5. 1). The question is whether the meditative state is enjoined or not. The opponent holds that it is not enjoined, as there is no word indicating an injunction. The text merely says that he becomes a Muni or meditative, whereas with respect to scholarship pnd the state of a child free from all passions, it expressly enjoins, ‘one should remain’ etc. Moreover, scholarship refers to Knowledge and therefore includes Munihood which also more or less refers to Knowledge. Therefore there is no newness with respect to Munihood in the text, it being included in scholarship already, and not being an Apurva it has no injunctive value.

This Sutra refutes this view and says that Munihood or meditativeness is enjoined in the text as a third requisite besides scholarship and the state of a child. For Munihood is not merely Knowledge but meditativeness, continuous devotion to Knowledge and as such it is different from scholarship. Hence, not having been referred to before, it is a new thing (Apurva), and therefore the text has injunctive value. Such meditativeness has a value for a Sannyasin who is not yet established in the knowledge of unity, and persistently experiences diversity owing to past impressions.


 Sutra 3,4.48

कृत्स्नभावात्तु गृहिणोपसंहारः ॥ ४८ ॥

kṛtsnabhāvāttu gṛhiṇopasaṃhāraḥ || 48 ||

kṛtsnabhāvāt—On account of the householder’s life including all; tu—verily; upasaṃhāraḥ—(the chapter) ends; gṛhiṇā—with the householder.

48. Verily, on account of the householder’s life including (duties from) all (the other stages of life), the chapter ends with the (enumeration of the duties of the) householder.

In the Chhandogya Upanishad we find that after enumerating the duties of the Brahmacharin it enumerates those of the householder, and there it ends without any mention of Sannyasa. If this also is one of the Asramas, why is nothing said about it in that place ? The Sutra says that in order to lay stress on the householder’s life, to show its importance, the Sruti ends there without referring to Sannyasa, and not because it is not one of the prescribed Asramas. The householder’s life is important because for him are prescribed, besides his own duties, those of other Asramas like study, control of the senses, etc. It includes more or less duties of all Asramas.


 Sutra 3,4.49

मौनवदितरेषामप्युपदेशात् ॥ ४९ ॥

maunavaditareṣāmapyupadeśāt || 49 ||

maunavar—Even as the state of a Muni (Sannyasa); itareṣām—of the others; api—even; upadeśāt—on account of scriptural instruction.

49. Because the scripture enjoins the other (stages of life, viz. Brahmacharya and Vanaprastha) even as it enjoins the state of a Muni (Sannyasa).

Just as the Sruti enjoins Sannyasa and householder’s life, so also it enjoins the life of a recluse and that of a student. Hence the scriptures enjoin all the four Asramas or stages of life to be gone through, in sequence or alternatively. The plural number ‘others’ instead of the dual is to denote the different classes of these two stages of life.

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